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Jesus says that the *disciples will suffer


These verses describe the trouble from enemies that Jesus’ *disciples must expect. But Jesus encourages them by promises of God’s help and protection. v9 ‘Watch out! People will hand you over to the courts. They will strike you in the *Jewish meeting places. You will stand in front of rulers and kings because of me. There you will be a witness to me. v10 And people must *preach the *gospel to all nations first. v11 They will arrest you and take you to court. Do not be anxious before then about what you will say. Say whatever God gives you to say at the time. It is not you who will be speaking, but the *Holy Spirit. v12 Brothers will hand over brothers, whom the authorities will kill. A father will hand over his child. Children will hand over their parents for death. v13 Everyone will hate you because of me. But God will save the person who lasts to the end.’ Verse 9 The ‘courts’ and *Jewish meeting places refer to trouble from the *Jews. The *Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the chief court. But the *Jewish meeting places were also courts of law. They could whip a man if they had shown him to be guilty in such a court. ‘Rulers and kings’ refers to trouble from *Gentiles. In such situations, the *disciples would have the opportunity to talk about their *faith in Jesus. Peter spoke with courage to the *Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1-13). Paul stood in front of Felix and Festus (Acts chapters 23-25). In Rome, he spoke about Christ to the soldiers who guarded him (Philippians 1:12-13). Verse 10 They must make sure that as many people as possible hear the *gospel. They must include everyone, *Gentiles as well as *Jews. The end will not come until they have completed their task. Verse 11 They must not worry when they have to stand in court. The *Holy Spirit will give them the right words to say. Verse 12 To be loyal to Jesus can cause disagreements in a family. Jesus had warned about that (Luke 12:51-53). Trouble can come even from close relatives. ‘Brothers’ can mean brothers by birth or close relatives. To be loyal to Jesus might cause pain and troubles. Some *disciples would suffer death for their *faith. In the early church, the *Jews killed Stephen. Herod Antipas made his soldiers kill James the brother of John (Acts 7:54-60; 12:2). In many parts of the world today, Christians suffer trouble from enemies. Authorities put them in prison and even kill them. Verse 13 People hated Christ. Therefore, they will hate those who obey him (John 15:18-19). There was a reason why Jesus emphasised this. Some *Jews believed that God always helped good people to avoid pain and troubles. Some people today think that Christians should not have any problems. But it is not true. Christians will not always be healthy and successful. Christians suffer difficulties in the same way as other people who do not obey God. And they suffer for their *faith as well. But everything that happens is in God’s control. This knowledge should encourage Jesus’ *disciples to remain loyal. ‘To the end’ has three possible meanings: 1 ‘Until God has finished his work on earth’. Some Christians will still be alive when Jesus returns (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). 2 ‘Until the end of life from natural causes’. 3 ‘Until other people may even kill Christians’. God will give a welcome into his *eternal *kingdom to those people who remain loyal (Revelation 2:10).